Visitors throng Edirne to soak in Kakava festivities

Visitors throng Edirne to soak in Kakava festivities

Visitors throng Edirne to soak in Kakava festivities

The much-awaited Kakava festivities have begun in the northwestern province of Edirne, as visitors throng the region to soak in the exuberant atmosphere full of activities such as dancing around the Kakava bonfire marking the arrival of spring, listening to folktales and firewalking.

In the festivities happening in the Sarayiçi district, locals filled the streets with their colorful attires, melodies and dances accompanied by drums. Shopkeepers and tourists also accompanied the entertaining invitations from time to time, joining the dances.

In addition, to celebrate the arrival of spring, the Kakava fire is lit with the hope that it will bring prosperity, health, fortune, peace and tranquility, a tradition inherited from older generations.

Turan Şallı, an NGO volunteer, emphasized the value of Kakava and Hıdırellez and said that they create an environment where people unite, and where many cultures, traditions and customs come together.

“We invite everyone to Edirne to celebrate with us,” he said.

On May 4, the first day of the festivities included a concert and a folk dance show. The second-day program took place by the Tunca River. On May 6, at dawn, wishes are made, which are written on papers that are either tied to the “wish tree” or thrown into the river stream.

Meanwhile, 1,264 hotel rooms in Edirne were booked one and a half months in advance for this year’s celebrations.

Bülent Öniz, a hotel manager from Edirne, stated that even though Kakava and Hıdırellez celebrations bring many tourists each year, this time around, there is even more interest from people, probably because this year’s festivities coincided with the weekend.

“Mostly people come from Istanbul, Bursa and İzmir provinces. There are hordes of tourists especially from Istanbul,” Öniz said.

Before the festivities, many confectioners in the city center also doubled their production for the tourists. Confectioners, which usually sell an Ottoman delicacy called Deva-i Misk and orange Hıdrellez cookies during this time, also increased the production of other varieties, such as kavala cookies and marzipan.

The Kakava and Hıdırellez Festivities are on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.